Dry Aged Arctic Char
By: Jack Mancuso
If you enjoy grilled salmon, it’s likely you’ll appreciate my dry-aged arctic char recipe. Arctic Char is a lot like salmon and trout, having a healthy, pink color to the meat. In part, this is thanks to Chars eating pink shrimp!
Ecologically, Arctic Char has become the stunt fish for salmon due to overfishing. Char was never really a “big deal” for the table. Now, however, Char has come into the spotlight offering versatility. Char is versatile. You can cook it nearly any way you want.
Choosing your Arctic Char
When you’re shopping for fish, always look at the skin. It should have a slight glisten to it. Otherwise, it’s like the fish is old and dry. Also, smell the Char. If it smells mildly of the sea, it’s a good piece.
For filets, make sure the scales have been properly removed and the skin is intact. You want to enjoy the crunchy, deliciousness of crisped fish skin. However, I recommend you always check again for bones. They’re sneaky and sometimes get missed even by a good butcher.
When you get your fish home, immediately clean it thoroughly. Get all the innards out, rinse, and then pat completely dry with paper towels. Transfer to the dry ager leaving it for two weeks. Note, you cal also request dry-aged Char from your butcher.
Dry Aged Arctic Char Ingredients
- Dry Aged Arctic Char Filets, skin on (you need 6-8 oz. per person)
- Sea salt
- Coarse ground pepper
- 1 Tbs butter per 2 servings
- Minced garlic
- Other herbs if desired (thyme, tarragon)
- 2 lemons
- Set up your charcoal grill, waiting for the coals to get white.
- If you have a whole fish, cut it down the middle along the back, then portion it into desired sizes.
- Salt and pepper the fish filets on all sides.
- Prepare some lemon-garlic butter with chives (use one of the fresh lemons for the mix).
- Place the Arctic Char skin-side down on the grill. Bast it abundantly with the butter mix.
- Turn after 1.5 minutes. Butter again
- The fish is done when it reaches 135 degrees F.
- Serve immediately with sea salt and lemon wedges (add lemon pepper if you wish).
Pit Master’s Memo
Arctic Char is a freshwater fish native to coasts, lakes, and rivers in the North Polar region, Northern America, Canada, Greenland, and Scandinavia. Dwarf species weigh up to 7 pounds, while Giant Arctic Char can come in at 9 pounds, measuring 16” long.
If you cannot prepare the Arctic Char immediately, store it in a large food storage bag. Place ice on top in the coolest part of the refrigerator (set up a drainage pan below). You’re trying to keep the fish’s temperature at about 32 degrees F.
Roasted cauliflower and broccoli
Mixed green salad
Fresh honey-drizzled citrus
Peas with a lemon-dill butter
From the Bar
Lemonade (or other citrus juice)